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THE CONCEPT OF VERBUM IN THE WRITINGS OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS II BERNARD LONERGAN, S.J. Vlmmacidêe Conception T^HE plan of our inquiry has been, first, to determine the introspective * psychological data involved in the Thomist concept of a verbutn mentis or inner word; secondly, to review the metaphysical categories and theorems in which these introspective data were expressed by Aquinas; thirdly, to follow the extrapolation from the analysis of the human mind to the account of the divine intellect as known naturally; fourthly, to study the theory of the procession of the divine Word. The first task of introspective psychology fell into two parts corres ponding to the two different types of inner word, namely, the quod quid est or definition, and the compositio vel divisto or judgment. Both types proceed from an intelligere, but a difference of product postulates a difference of ground; in the preceding article of this series it was argued that the intelligere whence proceeds the definition is a direct act of understanding, an insight into phantasm; in the present article the contention will be that the intelligere from which the judgment pro ceeds is a reflective and critical act of understanding not unlike the act of Newman's illative sense. It may be helpful to indicate at once the parallel between the two types of procession of inner words. Both definition and judgment proceed from acts of understanding, but the former from direct, the latter from reflective understanding. Both acts of understanding have their principal cause in the agent intellect, but the direct act in the agent intellect as spirit of wonder and inquiry, the reflective act in the agent intellect as spirit of critical reflection, as virtus iudkativa.1 Again, both acts of understanding have their instrumental or material causes, but the direct act has this cause in a schematic image or phantasm, while the reflective act reviews not only imagination but also sense ex perience, and direct acts of understanding, and definitions, to find in all taken together the sufficient ground or evidence for a judgment. 1 De Spir. Creai., a. 10 ad 8m. 35 36 THEOLOGICAL STUDIES Hence, while the direct act of understanding generates in definition the expression of the intelligibility of a phantasm, the reflective act generates in judgment the expression of consciously possessed truth through which reality is both known and known to be known. COMPOSITION OR DIVISION Composito vel divisto is the usual Thomist name for the second type of inner word. Its origin lies in the Aristotelian use of grammar for the specification of philosophic problems. In the Categories one is told to distinguish between simple and composite forms of speech: the latter are illustrated by "the man runs," "the man wins"; the former by "man," "runs," "wins."2 In the Perihermeneias there is set forth the concomitance of truth or falsity in the mind and, on the other hand, linguistic synthesis: one means the true or false not by any single word, not even by the copula, but only by a conjunction of words; apparent exceptions arise, not because any single word by itself really means the true or false, but only because one can at times enounce a single word and have others, as the grammarians say, understood.3 This passage Aquinas discussed at length, drawing an illuminating distinction be tween the primary and the consequent meanings of the verb "Est." Primarily, "Est simpliciter dictum significat in actu esse"; but conse quently and implicitly, "Est" means the true or false. For the primary meaning of "Est" is the actuality of any form or act, substantial or accidental; but consequently, because actuality involves synthesis with the actuated, and implicitly because the actuated subject is understood when actuality is affirmed, there is the connotation of truth or falsity in this and other verbs.4 This distinction may be paralleled by the standard Aristotelian and Thomist division of ens into ens that is equivalent to verum and, on the other hand, ens that is divided by the ten categories.5 But from the viewpoint of a genetic analysis of judgment a prior, though related, dis tinction must claim our immediate attention. As the name, "com- positio," suggests, there is to the judgment a purely synthetic element. It is on this ground that we are told that truth or falsity reside in the 2 Categories 2, la 17. 3 Periherm., I, 3; 16b 19-25. 4 In I Periherm.y lect. 5, ad fin. 8 In V Met., lect 9. §889 ff., §895 ff.; De Ente et Essentia, e. 1, init.; et passim. VERBUM IN ST. THOMAS 37 conjunction as such and not in the terms that are conjoined. How ever, besides this element of synthesis, there is to judgment a further element by which synthesis is posited. If one compares the terms of a judgment to matter and the synthesis of the terms to form, then this act of positing synthesis by affirmation or denial may be likened to existence, which actuates the conjunction of matter and form. With out such positing there may be synthesis, as in a question or an hy pothesis, but as yet there is no judgment. Again, synthesis, though not posited, may be true or false, but as yet it is not known to be true or false. Finally, as long as synthesis is not posited, the peculiar ob jective reference of the judgment is lacking; as yet the primary mean ing of "Est," the affirmation (or negation) of an "in actu esse," is not involved. In Aristotle, it is true, this distinction between the merely synthetic element in judgment and, on the other hand, the positing of synthesis is not drawn clearly. In Thomist writings, I believe, the use of Aristotelian terminology obscures to some extent a more nuanced analysis. In any case it was only by making this distinction that I was able to organize the materials I had collected, and so the rest of this section will be devoted to the synthetic element in judgment, while following sections will take up successively different aspects of the more important and more difficult element by which synthesis is posited. With regard to the synthetic element in judgment, certain prelim inary distinctions must be drawn: there is the real composition in things themselves; there is the composition of inner words in the mind; there is the composition of outer words in speech and writing. The last of these three is obvious: spoken words are conjoined in a vocal and tem poral cadence; written words are joined by using punctuation marks. Roughly parallel to the composition of outer words is the composition of inner words, so that at times, it may be difficult to say which com position is in question, as iñ the second part of the statement, "esse ... significat compositionem propositionis quam anima adinvenit coniun- gens praedicatum subiecto."6 However, there is no doubt about the existence of an inner composition: it arises from the discursive charac ter of our intellects, which form separate concepts to know first the subject and then the accident, which move from knowledge of the one to knowledge of the other, which attain knowledge of the inherence of 6 Sum. TheoL, I, q. 3, a. 4 ad 2m. 38 THEOLOGICAL STUDIES accidents in subjects by some sort of combination or union of species? Finally, the ground and cause of the composition that occurs in the mind and in speech is a real composition in the thing. Thus, the proposition, "Socrates is a man," has its ground and cause in the com position of a human form with the individual matter of Socrates; the proposition, "Socrates is white," has its ground and cause in the com position of a real accident, whiteness, with a real subject, Socrates.8 The one point to be noted here is that truth is not merely the sub jective, mental synthesis. It is the correspondence between mental and real synthesis. More accurately, in our knowledge of composite things, truth is the correspondence of mental composition with real composition or of mental division with real division; falsity is the non- correspondence of mental composition to real division or of mental division to real composition.9 But besides our knowledge of composite substances there are three other cases in which the foregoing account of truth suffers modal variations: in our knowledge of simple substances the incomplexa are known complexe; inversely, when simple substances know composite objects, the complexa are known incomplexe;10 finally, in the self-knowledge of the absolutely simple substance, knowing and known are an identity and so truth can be named a correspondence in that case only by the artifice of a double negation; one cannot say that divine intellect is similar to divine being, for similarity supposes duality; one can say only that divine intellect is not dissimilar to divine being.11 However, for the present, the significance of these modal variations is merely that they serve to stress the fact that mental syn thesis is one thing and that judgment involves another. Judgment includes knowledge of truth;12 but knowledge of truth is knowledge not merely of mental synthesis but essentially of the correspondence be tween mental synthesis and real synthesis. The immediate issue is the nature of the origin and genesis of the mental synthesis, of the con junction simply as conjunction in the mind and so as prior to knowledge of its correspondence to real conjunction. 7 De Ver., q. 2, a. 7 c. post med. 8 In IX Met, lect. 11, §1898. 9 Ibid., §1896; In VI Met., lect. 4, §1225 ff. 10 The basic discussion is In IX Met., lect. 11, §1901 ff.; cf. De Ver., q. 2, a. 7; q. 8, aa. 14-15; Sum. Tkeol., I, q. 14, a. 14, q. 58, aa. 2-4; q. 85, aa. 4-5; II-II, q. 1, a. 2 c; et loc. par. 11 Sum. TheoL, I, q. 16, a. 5 ad 2m. 12 Ibid., a. 2. VERBUM IN ST. THOMAS 39 Mental synthesis is of concepts. As one defined term proceeds from one insight into phantasm, so two defined terms proceed from two in sights. Such multiple insights and definitions may be separate, iso lated, atomic. But it also happens that one insight combines with another, or that a first develops so as to include a second. Such a pro cess of developing insight is the whole task of catching on to a science; and, perhaps, it was this very point that obscurely was uppermost in Aristotle's mind when he drew his distinction between the two opera tions of intellect, namely, knowledge of the indivisible and knowledge of the composite. For he appealed to the naive, evolutionary theory of Empedocles that fancied an initial state of nature in which heads existed apart from necks and trunks apart from limbs; later, concord brought such separate members together into the harmonious wholes of the animals that, by a well-known law, alone have survived. In like manner, Aristotle contended, intellect puts together what before were apart. It is one thing to understand that the diagonal stands to the side of a square as root two to unity; it is another to grasp that that proportion is an irrational; it is a third to see that an irrational cannot be a measure. One may understand in isolation both the nature of measurement and the ratio of the diagonal to the side. But if one also understands the nature of irrationals, one has the scientific middle term for grasping that the diagonal of a square is incommensurable with its side ; and in this final state one deals with concepts not in isolation but in intelligible unity; one sees, as it were in a single view, the diagonal as an irrational, and the irrational as an incommensurable.13 Note the nature of the conjunction: it is not that two concepts merge into one concept; that would be mere confusion; concepts remain eternally and immutably distinct. But while two concepts remain distinct as concepts, they may cease to be two intelligibilities and merge into one. "Symmetrum et diametrum aliquando separatim et seorsum intellectus intelligit, et tunc sunt duo intelligibilia; quando autem com- ponit, fit unum intelligibile et simul intelligitur ab intellectu."14 How do two concepts become one intelligibility? Not by a change in the concepts but by a coalescence or a development of insights: where be fore there were two acts of understanding, expressed singly in two 13 In III de An., lect. 11, §747-49; on irrationals, In V Met., lect. 17, §1020. 14 In III de An., lect. 11, §749. 40 THEOLOGICAL STUDIES concepts, now there is but one act of understanding, expressed in the combination of two concepts. This combination of two, as a combina tion, forms but a single intelligible, a single though composite object of a single act of understanding. The psychological fact that insights are not unrelated atoms, that they develop, coalesce, form higher unities, was fully familiar to Aquinas. Repeatedly he spoke of an intelligere multa per unum: many acts of understanding cannot be simultaneous in one intellect; but one act of understanding can and does grasp many objects in a single view.15 Understanding a house is not understanding severally the foundation, the walls, and the roof; it is understanding one whole.16 The object of judgment is not the several terms but the one proposi tion.17 Knowledge of first principles is not exclusively a matter of comparing abstract terms or concepts; no less than the terms, the nexus between them may be directly abstracted from phantasm, so that, just as the concept, so also the principle may be the expression of an insight into phantasm.18 The synthetic character of understanding is illustrated not only in the concept of a whole, such as a house, and in the grasp of a principle, but also in the learning of a science; for the less intelligent type of mind has to have things explained in painful detail, while the more intelligent catches on from a few indications.19 Moreover, it is this synthetic character of understanding that is peculiarly evident in the theory of angelic and of divine knowledge. Angels need species to know things other than themselves; but the higher angels are higher because they grasp more by fewer species than do the lower with more numerous species; their acts of understanding are wider in sweep and more profound in penetration.20 The summit of such sweep and penetration is the divine intellect; for the divine act of understanding is one, yet it embraces in a single view all possibles 15 In II Sent., d. 3, q. 3, a. 4; In III Sent., d. 14, q. 1, a. 2, sol. 4 c. et Im; Quodl. VII, a. 2; De Ver., q. 8, a. 14; C. Gent., I, 55; De An., a. 18, ad 5m; Sum. Tkeol., I, q. 85, a. 4. 16 In VI Met., lect. 4, §1229. 17 Ibid.; In III Sent., d. 14, q. 1, a. 2, sol. 4; De Ver., q. 8, a. 14 c. ad fin.; C. Gent. I, 55 (ed. Leon., XIII, 157a 22 ff.) 18 See P. Hoenen, "De Origine Primorum Principiorum Scientiae," Gregorianum, XIV (1933), 153-84; XIX (1938), 498-514; XX (1939), 19-54; 321-50. 19 Sum. Theol, I, q. 55, a. 3 c. 20 Ibid.;In IISent., d. 3, q. 3, a. 2; De Ver., q. 8, a. 10; C. Gent., II, 98. VEKBUM IN ST. THOMAS 41 and the prodigal multiplicity of actual beings.21 Finally, it is to such a view of all reality that human intellect naturally aspires. The specific drive of our nature is to understand,22 and indeed to understand everything, neither confusing the trees with the forest nor content to contemplate the forest without seeing all the trees. For the spirit of inquiry within us never calls a halt, never can be satisfied, until our intellects, united to God as body to soul,23 know ipsum intelligere and through that vision, though then knowing aught else is a trifle,24 con template the universe as well.25 If to thirst, however obscurely, for this consummation is natural, still to achieve it is supernatural.26 But besides supernatural, there is also natural achievement, progress in understanding within the natural ambit of our development. Such progress, as progressing, is reason; for reason is to understanding, as motion is to rest. Reason is not one potency, and understanding another potency; on the level of potency the two are identical; they differ only as process to a term dif fers from achievement in the term.27 This point merits illustration. It is objected, frequently enough, that syllogism does not represent the manner in which, as a matter of fact, we learn and think. This difficulty has its ground, partly in the identity of reason and under standing, partly in the type of examples of syllogism commonly found in the text-books. Syllogism may represent either reasoning or under standing. When we understand, we no longer are reasoning or learn ing; we have reached the term and apprehend the many as one; but the stock examples of syllogism represent acts of understanding, mat ters that may have puzzled us long ago, but now are taken for granted. It follows that such syllogisms do not illustrate learning or reasoning 21C. Gent., I, 46 ff.; In I Sent., d. 35-36; De Ver., qq. 2-3; Sum. Theol., I, q. 14, aa. 5-6; q. 15, aa. 1-3. 22De Ver., q. 14, a. 1 e: "... intellectus ... proprium terminum ... qui est visio alicuius intelligibilis." ™ C.Gent., Ill, 51. 24 Sum. Theol, I, q. 12, a. 8 ad 4m. *Ibid.,1-II, q. 3, a. 8. 26 C. Gent., Ill, 52; see Henri Rondet, "Nature et surnaturel dans la théologie de s. Thomas d'Aquin," Rech. sc. rei., XXXIII (1946), 56-91. 27 In II Sent., d. 9, q. 1, a. 8 ad Im; De Ver., q. 15, a. 1; Sum. Theol, I, q. 79, a. 8 c; cf. J. Peghaire, Intellectus et Ratio selon S. Thomas d'Aquin (Inst. méd. d'Ottawa, VI; Ottawa and Paris, 1936). 42 THEOLOGICAL STUDIES for current consciousness. But take a syllogism in a field in which your grasp is not too ready; define the terms; demonstrate the premises; and you will find that this reasoning is bringing an understanding to birth and that, with understanding achieved, you no longer reason but apprehend the many in a synthetic unity. For instance, why is the diagonal of a square incommensurable with the side? First, what is a measurement? It is a fourfold proportion in which, where M and Ν are integers, M:N : : measurable object : standard unit. What is the ratio of the diagonal to the side? It is root two. Now demonstrate that there cannot be two integers, M and N, such that M/N = Vj2. As long as reasoning continues, understanding is not achieved. But with the reasoning process successfully completed, understanding is achieved: ratio terminatur ad intellectum.n It is in its relation to the psychological experience of understanding that reasoning or discourse is characterized by Aquinas. There is a difference between knowing one thing in another, and knowing one thing from knowing another; the former involves a single movement of mind; the latter involves a twofold movement, as in syllogism where first one grasps principles and then conclusion.29 In the Summa the analysis is pushed further by the introduction of a distinction between the temporal and the causal elements in discursive knowledge. In discourse there is temporal succession, for we know first one"thing and then another; there also is causal connection, for it is because we know the first that we come to know the second. But in God there is no temporal succession, for he knows all at once; and there is no causal connection between different acts of knowing, for his knowing is a single act. Still, though God's knowledge is uncaused, it does not follow that he does not know causes. For all discursive knowledge 285ww. Tkeol., II-II, q. 8, a. 1 ad 2m: "Dicendum quod discursus rationis semper incipit ab intellects et terminatur ad intellectum; ratiocinamur enim procedendo ex quibusdam intellectis, et tunc rationis discursus perficitur quando ad hoc pervenimus ut intelligamus id quod prius erat ignotum." Note that the phrase "terminatur ad intel­ lectum" is ambiguous; very frequently it refers to a critical return to intdlectus as habitus principiorum ; in the text cited it has to mean the arrival at some hitherto unknown object of understanding, which cannot be the object of the naturally known first principles em­ ployed in all reasoning. On this issue, see J. Peghaire,o p. cit., pp. 261 fï., 269 ff. With regard to the distinction between natural and chronological priority of knowledge of premises over knowledge of conclusions, see In I Post. Anal., lect. 2. 29Z?eFef.,q.8,a.l5. VERBUM IN ST. THOMAS 43 comes to a term in the intuitive apprehension of a field of implications, inter-relations, dependencies; from knowing a second because we know a first, we move to knowing a second in the first; but in God that final state is eternal, for He knows all things in their cause, which is Him­ self.30 Reasoning was not characterized by Aquinas with a reference to a text on formal logic; it was characterized as the development of under­ standing, as motion towards understanding. This fact throws a light backward on an issue raised in the preceding article. Conceive reason­ ing in terms of deductive logic and there can be no reasoning unless one already is in possession of the necessary three terms, subject, middle, and predicate. But conceive reasoning as understanding in develop­ ment and there is not the slightest difficulty about the Thomist view that we have to reason to grasp even the terms: "nam cum volo con- cipere rationem lapidis, oportet quod ad ipsam ratiocinando perveniam; et sic est in omnibus aliis, quae a nobis intelliguntur, nisi forte in primis principiis."31 Just how Aquinas reasoned out his concept of a stone, I cannot say; but in the second book of the Contra Gentiles there is the magnificent reasoning out of the concept of the human soul; it runs through no less than forty-five chapters;32 and that long argument pro­ vides an excellent example of what exactly Aquinas meant by knowl­ edge of essence. For him, understanding was a knowledge penetrating to the inward nature of a thing. Angels know such essences directly, for they have no senses; but men reach essences only through the sen­ sible doors that surround them; they have to reason from effects to causes and from properties to natures. Hence properly human under­ standing is named reason, though—it is not to be forgotten—reasoning terminates in understanding inasmuch as inquiry eventually yields knowledge of essence .33 ι Reasoning not merely terminates in understanding; equally it begins from understanding; for unless we understood something, we never should begin to reason at all. Accordingly, to avoid an infinite regress, it is necessary to posit a habitus principorium, also termed intellectus f which naturally we possess. Such a natural habit differs both from 80 Sum. TheoL, I, q. 14, a. 7 c. 81 In loan., cap. 1, lect. 1. 32 C. Gent., II, 46-90. 38 In III Sent., d. 25, q. 2,\. 2, sol. 1; cf. De Ver., q. 1, a. 12 c; In VI Eth., lect. 5; Sum. TkeoL, II-II, q. 8, a. 1 c. 44 THEOLOGICAL STUDIES acquired habit and from infused h$bit. The natural habit, though it has a determination from sense, results strictly from intellectual light alone; the acquired habit has in sense not only a determination but also a cause.34 Thus, the natural habit is more like the infused than the acquired: the infused virtue of faith is not caused but only receives a determination from the preaching of the gospel.35 This is very subtle, introspective psychology. To grasp it one has to compare two types of first principle. Thus, there is at least a certain self-evidence to the principle of inverse squares; but it is not a self-evidence that can be apprehended without an image of spatial extension. On the other hand, the evidence of the principle of non-contradiction is of a different type; with regard to it, any sensible instance is equally relevant and none is more than an illustration; for this principle does not arise from an insight into sensible data but from the nature of intelligence as such; and so its field of application is not limited to the realm of possible human experience, as the principle of inverse squares is limited to the imaginable and as certain geometrical principles to the Euclidean imaginable. Nowhere, to my knowledge, did Aquinas offer to give a complete list of naturally known principles. His stock examples are the principle of non-contradiction and of the whole being greater than the part.36 But it does not follow that the list of such principles is quite indeter minate. As there are naturally known principles, so also there is an object which we know per se and naturally. That object is ens; and only principles founded upon our knowledge of ens are naturally known.37 The nature of our natural knowledge of ens already has been touched upon in the previous article,38 and to it we shall have to return later in this article. If we are correct in urging that intelligibility is the ground of possibility and that possibility is possibility of being, so that the concept of being is known naturally because it proceeds from any intelligibility in act ( = any intelligence in act), then it is equally clear that the principle of non-contradiction is known naturally; for that principle is the natural law of the procession of any concept from 34 In II Sent., d. 24, q. 2, a. 3 sol.; De Ver., q. 8, a. 15 c.fin. 36 In III Sent, d. 23, q. 3, a. 2 ad lm. 36 In II Met, lect. 1, §277, IV, lect. 6, §605; In II Sent., d. 24, q. 2, a. 3 sol; et passim. 37 C. Gent., II, 83 (ed. Leon., XIII, 523a 26 fï.). 88 THEOL. STUD., VII (1946), p. 390 f.

of Newman's illative sense. It may be helpful not even by the copula, but only by a conjunction of words; apparent . of its correspondence to real conjunction.
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